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US Army gears up to spend $1 billion more on border security

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin, File
Not all border projects involve “the wall.”
  • Justin Rohrlich
By Justin Rohrlich

Geopolitics reporter

Published This article is more than 2 years old.

The US Army Corps of Engineers continues to gear up to spend the money contrived by the Trump administration to fortify the southern border.

In April, the Army Corps solicited companies to pre-qualify for projects related to building a wall between the United States and Mexico. These are dubbed “horizontal construction” projects and, if carried out fully, could total up to $8 billion.

Now the agency is gauging interest among contractors for “vertical construction” projects, which refers to building or repairing other things related to border security, like border patrol stations, checkpoints and detention facilities—all arguably more important than a wall. The potential contracts are valued at roughly $1.2 billion.

Several companies have already registered their interest in the new construction projects. But winning the contracts and then actually starting construction on them could still be a long way off. The contracts could take up to 18 months or longer to just be assigned, according to the solicitation.

A spokesman for the Army Corps, Bobby Petty, told Quartz the department did not know from where the funding would be coming.

To help Trump cobble together the money for his various border security projects, including his long-promised wall, the Department of Defense (DoD) shifted $1.5 billion from ballistic missile and airborne surveillance programs and about $1 billion from the Army’s personnel budget. DoD has also reportedly identified another $6.8 billion in military construction projects it said can be delayed in order to put those funds toward the wall.

Some construction has already begun. New construction began at the end of April on 53 miles of new wall cutting through New Mexico and Arizona. Funding for that section of the wall came from “various” sources within the Departments of Homeland Security and Defense, Petty said.

A half-mile barrier was also built last month on private land in New Mexico after owners raised $20 million in a controversial GoFundMe campaign. So far, according to reports, the private wall hasn’t prevented anyone from entering the country.

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